WHEATON, Ill. -- A suburban Chicago judge on Thursday ordered a new trial for a man convicted 20 years ago and sentenced to 45 years in prison for arson and murder in his mother-in-law's death.
The DuPage County judge vacated the conviction of William Amor, 60, who is imprisoned at the Taylorville Correctional Facility in central Illinois. The ruling follows a weeklong hearing in December when Amor's attorneys presented new arson-related scientific evidence. He is represented by the University of Illinois-Springfield's Illinois Innocence Project.
Amor's conviction was based on a false confession and arson findings that are no longer scientifically reliable, his attorneys said in statement. He was found guilty of murder and aggravated arson in September 1997 for Marianne Miceli's death in Naperville. His attorneys said the false confession to police came after 15 hours of questioning and Amor being served divorce papers at the station.
Amor's attorneys said evidence points to the fire being accidental.
"It is undisputed by the experts in this case that fire science has evolved, and it has changed to such an extent that the original findings in this case are unreliable," said Amor's attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director of the Illinois Innocence Project Chicago office.
A hearing is scheduled April 13 to determine if Amor will be released or if prosecutors will appeal, Amor's attorneys said. The DuPage County state's attorney's office on Thursday declined comment.